Division of Ferrofluid Drops Induced by a Magnetic Field.Langmuir. 2018 08 21; 34(33):9762-9767.L
We report a comprehensive study of the division of ferrofluid drops caused by their interaction with a permanent magnet. As the magnet gradually approaches the sessile drop, the drop deforms into a spiked cone and then divides into two daughter droplets. This process is the result of a complex interplay between the polarizing effect caused by the magnetic field and the magnetic attraction due to the field gradient. As a first attempt to describe it, during each scan we identify two characteristic distances between the magnet and the drop: zmax, corresponding to the drop reaching its maximum height, and zsaddle, corresponding to the formation of a saddle point on the drop peak identifying the beginning of the drop breakup. We have investigated the location of these two points using sessile drops of ferrofluid water solutions at various concentrations and volumes, deposited on four surfaces of different wettability. An empirical scaling law based on dimensionless variables is found to accurately describe these experimental observations. We have also measured the maximum diameter of the drops right before the division and found that it is very close to a critical size, which depends on the magnetic attraction.